University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) has just produced 786 graduates at its 5th Congregation ceremony, which took place over three sessions spanning November 5 and 6. The Class of 2020 includes students from the Schools of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS); Basic and Biomedical Sciences (SBBS); Medicine (SOM); Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM); and Public Health (SPH).
Included in this number are the first batch of 30 medical biochemists and molecular biologists to ever graduate from the Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology programme at the School of Basic and Biomedical Sciences, and the first batch of 41 medical doctors to graduate from the School of Medicine’s Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery programme.
Guest of Honour Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, observed that a nation's progress is measured by its economic development and healthcare delivery systems; it is therefore important to maintain a healthy population “if the nation is to maximize its human capital investment dividends” as the two were strongly correlated.
He commended the University for its role during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “Government is very much delighted that UHAS rose to this important occasion, not only as a specialized university for the training of health professionals, but also as an institution that concerns itself with the provision of both preventive and curative health care solutions to the nation and beyond” adding, “by your performance so far, you have demonstrated that you are an important cornerstone in the development of our dear nation.”
Dr. Bawumia said the government is also aware of UHAS championing health research, which highlights government’s own efforts to establish a national research and development fund with the goal of promoting innovative research-based development. The VP also announced that Phase II of the University’s major expansion project, dubbed ‘China Phase II’, would take launch mid-November this year. It will involve constructing and appropriately equipping the University’s main Administration Block as well as the School of Nursing and Midwifery. He also promised that the University's laboratory complex project and the School of Public Health project in Hohoe would receive the necessary support to ensure their early completion.
The Vice President advised the graduates to work with diligence and humility and to reciprocate the gesture of education by accepting posting to the district hospitals “so that within the shortest possible time, all district hospitals and health facilities in the nation will have at least four doctors each to eliminate the ‘one-doctor station’ syndrome.”
His Lordship Justice Victor J.M. Dotse, Chairman of the University Council, said the University continues to provide a congenial learning environment with the highest standards of clinical competencies and skills, in conformity with international best standards in a bid to produce top-notch health and allied professionals. He therefore called on the graduating class to be much more aware of the season in which they were graduating as health professionals, saying, “In this era of COVID-19 pandemic, your nation and community need your services more than ever before.”
The Council Chair also appealed to the University Management to put in “conscious and deliberate effort” into attracting the best graduating SHS students in the Volta/Oti regions to study medicine or pharmacy — provided these students meet the entry requirements and are interested in these programs. “This will be a good memorial for the pioneer Free SHS policy, for which UHAS will be remembered.”
Vice Chancellor Professor John Owusu Gyapong reported that the School of Public Health has received approval from the National Commission for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to start a PhD programme in the next academic year. He also indicated that the School of Nursing and Midwifery has submitted the necessary documents to NCTE and the National Accreditation Board (NAB) to start the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and PhD programmes.
The VC also stated that the University is investing part of its resources to put up a 640-bed hostel at the Ho Teaching Hospital for clinical students. Once completed, this hostel will be replicated on the Main Campus at Sokode Lokoe.
Mr. Felix Nyante, Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), speaking at the first session, tasked the graduates to keep abreast of the technological times as technology is fundamentally altering the way in which work is done. “We are in a new phase of development in which digitisation of health will revamp our work in many ways.”
He said NMC believes that digitising health systems is a key component in achieving universal health coverage. “Digital health is shifting from reactive care to preventive and early detection of disease to deliver integrated, people-centred service.”
Mr. Persius Mawuli Bodzaku, Valedictorian for the first session from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said the Class of 2020 had overcome many challenges “to get us to where we are today.” He said their experiences had better equipped them to be firm, resolute and resilient in the pursuit of life goals.
Dr. Keziah L. Malm, Programme Manager, National Malaria Control Programme, was the guest speaker at the second session. She told the graduands to envision their graduation as the beginning of a new chapter with greater purpose. “It should be a chapter of hope, opportunities, greatness as well as challenges,” and advised them not to sleep on their degrees but rather use them as the springboard to catapult them to a brighter future.
Ms. Grace Adza, Valedictorian for the second session from the School of Public Health said although they had experienced many challenges in the pursuit of academic excellence in this young university, they had persevered and adapted to their new environment. “Let us always remember to give our best shots when given the chance.”
Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume, Founder of Family Health University College (FHUC), speaking at the third session advised the graduands, in their quest to serve mankind, to accept service postings to all corners of the country, especially to disadvantaged communities. He advised them to build their professional capacities and think outside the box if they were to grow. “A time will come for you to learn, unlearn and re-learn,” he said.
Ms. Rosina Afua Ampomah Carr, the overall outstanding graduating UHAS student who swept three awards, advised her fellow graduates to aspire to be successful as “whatever you desire is as far from you or as close as you make it look. Nothing is beyond your reach if you set your mind to it.”
»The 5th Congregation also witnessed the conferment of an Honorary Doctor of Science (honoris causa) degree on Reverend Father Andrew Campbell for his persistent humanitarian services to the community of lepers and children. READ THE FULL STORY HERE